Hello again parents. I hope you are well! But I realize that perhaps you are not well. Or, at the very least, your mental health has experienced some ups and downs recently. If that's you, I hope you know that you are completely normal. There was already enough stress in your life before COVID-19 showed up. Now, with the uncertainty about the virus, the changes that are unfolding can make most people feel a bit anxious. So, don't be discouraged. Accept that some anxiety and fear is normal.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE. YOU ARE NOT CRAZY. ANXIETY DOES NOT DEFINE YOU. EVERYONE NEEDS HELP. YOU ARE NOT AN ISLAND.
And, while I am not a doctor, I have found some great research and resources from medical professionals and I have compiled a few tips. Perhaps you will find some of what I have written here helpful. I've pasted some great sources at the bottom for your perusal if you're interested as well.
During this season you don't have to just survive - you can thrive!
1. HOW AM I FEELING TODAY (MENTALLY AND PHYSICALLY)? Things like stress and anxiety not only affect you mentally, but you can feel it in your body - headaches, stomach aches, and dizziness are sometimes connected to mental health.
2. WHAT’S TAKING UP THE MOST OF MY HEADSPACE?
Work? Family? What’s for dinner? Money? Feelings of hope? Positivity?
3. AM I EXHAUSTED?
Getting enough sleep can both help reduce the amount of stress we experience and prepare us to better manage stress. It can be helpful to keep a consistent sleep schedule, and plan physical activity for earlier in the day. (Since the gym is closed, use your stairs or follow an exercise video on YouTube.)
4. WHAT WILL I ENGAGE IN TODAY THAT WILL BRING ME JOY? It's not hard to fill your schedule with things that are mentally draining. And that's why it's important to be intentional about scheduling in time for the things that fill you up. If you don't know what those are you need to find something asap.
5. HAVE I MADE TIME TO BE ALONE WITH JESUS TODAY? Jesus knows you better than you know yourself and he wants the best for you. Being alone with Jesus gets your focus in the right place and replaces your worry with his peace.
6. HAVE I MADE TIME RECENTLY FOR PEOPLE WHO CAN CARE FOR ME (LIKE AN OASIS LIFE GROUP)?
Being alone can lead to spending too much time thinking about the current situation, resulting in increased stress and anxiety. It can be helpful to connect every week with people who are a positive influence when you are feeling stressed. And try to avoid people who are negative when talking about current affairs or events, or who generally increase your stress and anxiety.
I have so much respect for you parents! I'm praying for you! If there's anything specific I can pray for, or there's some other way that I or our staff at Oasis can support you, please send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.